HomeChurch & AsiaVatican, Mongolia reach historical cooperation deal

Vatican, Mongolia reach historical cooperation deal

The Holy See and Mongolia have come to a historic cooperation deal that will grant Mongolian scholars access to secret Vatican archives and documents.

Mongolia’s ambassador to the Holy See, L. Purevsuren, met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s top foreign policy representative on Jan. 10 to seal the cooperation deal, the Mongolian News Agency reports.

L. Purevsuren thanked the Vatican for allowing Mongolian scholars to study documents and source materials related to that country’s history, as well as granting them access to secret Vatican archives and its library.

The Vatican will also provide Latin language classes to Mongolian scholars so that they can study those documents relevant to their history.

A scientific conference and photo exhibition was also announced, and is set to be jointly held at the Vatican from May 6-8 to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding Karakorum, the capital of the ancient Mongolian Empire.

Father Giorgio Marengo, a Consolata missionary who has lived in the Mongolia since 2003, told AsiaNews members of his congregation had opened a small inter-religious dialogue and research center in Kharkhorin, which is located near the ancient capital.

“With the latest initiatives, the Holy See shows its constant interest in the history and cultural heritage of this country and we are very happy about it,” he said.

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The scientific conference is set to focus on interfaith dialogue in Mongolia.

Father Marengo told AsiaNews that while Christianity was only allowed in Mongolia after the fall of the communist regime in 1992, the country’s “ancient imperial capital represents one of the first examples of peaceful coexistence between different religions.”

“In 1245, Pope Innocent IV sent Franciscan friar Giovanni di Pian del Carpine as ambassador to the court of the Khan. From his and other ancient stories we know that the imperial capital was cosmopolitan and multi-religious, with the presence of Nestorians, i.e., Syriac Christians,” he said.

Meanwhile, L. Purevsuren also held talks with other officials at the Holy See to discuss areas where bilateral cooperation could be expanded.

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